One of the most frequent questions I get when working with small to medium local business is: “Should I add a blog to my site”. In most circumstances blogging is a good idea not only because it can help with organic search engine rankings, but it can also help add a different slant to your product/service offerings.
Why Blogging is Effective for SEO
The reason why blogging is an effective method for increasing your search engine rankings is twofold. First, a properly written blog is full of highly relevant keywords for your business. The second reason is that often your website lacks search engine friendly qualities.
For example, let’s say you start a blog for your wedding cake bakery. It would be smart to structure your blog so that each post targeted not only the keywords “wedding cake” but more specifically focus on the geographic areas you service. So, an example title of a post on your blog would be “Todd and Jeanette’s Leaning Tower of Pisa Wedding Cake”. Then, in the post you would include pictures of the cake and text like: “Jeanette wanted a reproduction of the Leaning Tower of Pisa for her wedding cake. Their tasteful Phoenix wedding was held at the Pointe Hilton…” When the search engine spiders visit your blog it will pick up these keywords and help rank your site higher for the phrase: “Wedding cake phoenix”. This is only one small piece of the blogging puzzle. The second reason why your blog helps with SEO is often because the rest of the site lacks optimization.
Many websites are developed by firms that do not build a search engine friendly structure from the start. The site can suffer from improper keyword targeting, the directory/page structure can inhibit the flow of keyword relevancy (link juice), etc… With a blog you can help mitigate some of these shortfalls. This does not mean you should forgo search engine optimization on the rest of your site. The blog should work in tandem with the rest of the site reinforcing your offering.
The Goals of Small Business Blogging
Aside from the SEO benefits of blogging, what should be the goal? Your blog can serve as an excellent way to demonstrate how your business is serving the needs of your customers. This is not the same as a white paper, case study, or press release. Your blog can be used to showcase your knowledge of a specific market by providing things like tutorials. It can be used to demonstrate how real people have benefited from your product/service or as in the case of the wedding cake example above, actually show just how great your product really is. In a broad sense think of your web site as the sales and customer service area of your business with the blog acting as public relations and as an indirect sales person.
General Tips for a Small Business Blog
So, if you are thinking of starting a blog or want to make it better, keep these points in mind:
- Put your blog on the same domain as your main company website. Do not buy a different domain just to host your blog. You want one big comprehensive site.
- You do not have to call your blog a blog. You can get more mileage out of it by calling it something relevant to your site. Using the Phoenix wedding cake bakery example above you can call it: “Wedding Cake Creations” and make the directory structure look like this: http://YourBusiness Site.com/wedding-cake-creations
- You don’t have to use a blogging script to have a blog. It can be simply a part of your web site that is regularly updated. But if you do go with a script, which I highly recommend, go with WordPress.
- Make sure to include pictures. It helps break up large blocks of text thus increasing the number of people who read the entire article.
- Don’t be stingy with links. Use your blog to share some link love with your favorite vendors and other folks you respect in your industry.